BT YOUNG SCIENTISTS & TYF JOIN FORCES
Tackle Your Feelings (TYF) has released a new clip to highlight the TYF Schools programme. In ‘TYF Schools with Quinny’ former Irish international, Munster rugby player and TYF Expert Advisory Panel member Alan Quinlan went back to the Abbey School in Tipperary to meet with Liam Carew and Shane O’Connor, two students who are helping to inform mental wellbeing supports in schools across Ireland, and to discuss why initiatives like the TYF schools programme are so important.
Earlier this year, Carew and O’Connor were the winners of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) for their project; “Assessing the Impact of Second-level Education on key aspects of Adolescents’ Life and Development”. The project saw Shane and Liam survey 2,000 12–19-year-old students across Ireland to examine how they found their education experiences impacted their social, physical, and mental wellbeing. Their research revealed that between 67-72% of students felt they did not receive educational guidance on their mental health, while 33% of teachers believe that their school does not take action to support mental wellbeing.
Inspired to start their project to assess the impact of Covid-19, their findings revealed a lack of awareness of mental wellbeing supports across the student and teaching bodies, a void they believe can be addressed by programmes like TYF Schools. The students also outline how their research demonstrated that open conversations between teachers and students about mental wellbeing creates a strong school community, while small actions to benefit students has an exponential outcome on their school experience.
Last week, Carew and O’Connor were in Brussels where they took home second prize for their project at the EU Contest for Young Scientists where they competed against over 130 young scientists aged 14 to 20 years from 36 countries, including EU member states and the USA, Canada, and South Korea. From their research, the running of ‘practical wellbeing classes’ by schools was the most frequently cited improvement that could be made.
The Tackle Your Feelings Schools Programme is a classroom-based, teacher-led, life skills development programme which enables students to build healthy habits and personal coping strategies as well as kindness and understanding when it comes to mental health and wellbeing. The Programme is run by Rugby Players Ireland and funded by the Z Zurich Foundation, and the content for the app-based programme, is developed using positive psychology and sport psychology principles and supported with comprehensive lesson plans for teachers. Students can easily access the content when in school or at home. The FREE programme includes an 8-lesson schedule, covering awareness, emotions, wellbeing characteristics and self-care.
Speaking on the release of the new video, former Ireland and Munster Rugby Player and Tackle Your Feelings Schools Advisory Panel, Alan Quinlan said: “It was fantastic to return to the Abbey School and meet Shane and Liam, two remarkable young men who are making a real difference to how we implement supports and talk about mental wellbeing in schools. It was clear meeting Principal David Sadleir and John Kiely that the work of these students is a source of huge pride for the school community, and I’m impressed with how they were inspired to tackle this issue after Covid. Navigating school life is challenging and ensuring young people are aware of help and have the supports to enable them to have a balanced experience is so important so they have a positive experience!”
Anthony Brennan, CEO of Zurich Ireland said: “Zurich is proud to continue its support for the Tackle Your Feelings Schools Programme. This latest research points to why resources like this can make a real difference in the school community, and the positive impact we can have collectively by facilitating students to have these conversations in a school setting.”
Tackle Your Feelings Campaign Manager at RPI, Grainne Finnegan said:
“Shane and Liam’s work demonstrates the impact a focus on positive mental wellbeing can have on the school community but more importantly it shows that young people want to be heard in this space. The TYF programme is all about giving teachers and students the tools to help promote positive mental wellbeing, so given the research findings we will be driving greater awareness of the tools available in our Schools programme through our Tackle Your Feelings video series.”
This is the second video with the first centered on Tadhg Furlong’s return to his school Good Counsel College in New Ross to spotlight the work of the Tackle Your Feelings (TYF) Schools programme to promote mental wellbeing.